The future we eagerly desire (2)
A direct consequence of these was the provision of ample employment opportunities for its citizenry, which contributed significantly to its healthy economy. Today, it is insulated from the price volatility of its dominant commodity and fluctuating economic cycles.
For Nigeria, we must rethink our approach to economic, social and industrial policy making and implementation, if we truly want to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change just as President Buhari declared publicly at the UN General Assembly. Policy makers are implored to devise and initiate clear, integrated and participatory diversification strategies, as well as enact robust industrial, investment and trade policies to realise these goals. These policies must be routinely monitored, and rigorously evaluated from time to time; and the government should engage the citizenry in policymaking, indirectly through their representatives and directly through referendum.
To lead the transformation of Nigeria’s unbalanced economies, the government must strategically inject capital and labour into sectors that are economically productive; in order words, they particularly have competitive advantage, growth potential, as well as internal and external market opportunity.
Consequently, Nigeria’s vulnerability to resource price shocks or instability would be reduced. Furthermore, overall capital and labour productivity levels would be increased and exportation of high value-added goods and services would be promoted.
Moreover, concerted efforts, of the public and private sectors, would be needed to facilitate the transformation we desire. Considering an enabling environment is a key prerequisite for private sector participation, the government must, in addition to legislative and policy provisions, do the needful to eliminate the issues with institutional variables. Absence of conflict, good governance, strong institutions, and truly democratic presidential system with credible regulatory framework would be absolutely necessary. Regional integration to combat terrorism should also be given serious consideration.
For real activity performance, the government should boost entrepreneurship, eliminate bureaucratic obstacles to starting innovative and inventive businesses, and design financial instruments that ease access to capital. That way, the nation could exploit great business opportunities. In addition, our scientific and engineering capacities must be strengthened, with substantial investment in research and development, thereby fostering technological innovation, which would support the nation’s production and construction structures and systems.
At this juncture, is it within reason to imagine Nigeria as a country not driven mainly by the oil and gas sector, which currently accounts for over 90 per cent of export earnings, 30 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and three-quarters of government revenue? Is it possible to eliminate economic concentration, and develop agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing and other non-oil sectors in general at exponential rates? How fast can we diversify our economy such that the GDP, or Gross Domestic Income (GDI), is more evenly distributed across many more sectors?
The ICNS has been at the forefront of discussions addressing the challenges plaguing the nation’s sustainable development, and highlighting growth opportunities in the 21st century, through an annual symposium series. We are exceptionally inspired to initiate and sustain positive conversations on sustainable development and the socioeconomic transformation of the Nigerian economy. We are also committed to fostering the desired positive transformation, which translates into increased and sustained economic growth, diversification and industrialisation, and in turn, leads to wealth creation, increased employment rate and enhanced standard of living for all.
We intend to address these issues objectively during the society’s 4th Annual Symposium, scheduled for the 20th of November 2015. This headlining event, themed, “Sustainable Development and Socioeconomic Diversification in Nigeria” would take place at the Great Hall in Imperial College London’s South Kensington Campus.
Our hope is that Nigeria would look beyond its ostensible economic growth, forge a pathway for success with the SDGs and reinvent itself as an agricultural and manufacturing centre in the world by 2030.
• Miss Azeta is the vice chair of the Imperial College Nigerian Society. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Benin, and recently completed her graduate study for a Master’s degree in Sustainable Energy Futures at Imperial College London. She is an Energy Professional, with rich work experience in the Oil and Gas sector, a STEM Ambassador and a Future Energy Leader at the World Energy Council.